Mastering, in general 2017
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Old 05-11-2017, 06:47 PM   #1
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Mastering, in general 2017

My apologies if this topic has already been covered, which I am sure it has done so.

I am just pondering the thoughts on mastering in general, which is of course the final stages of any music track. To polish and refine your sound to perform best on all devises and to showcase to others.

However, how relevant is it to use a professional studio or hire an experienced engineer for electronic music in 2017? I read not so long ago that the need for such an expensive and demanding hardware setup is not always necessary these days as computers and software have come a long way which can basically do the same job as a professional studio. Not to mention the battle for "loudness" isn't as important as it used to be as listeners use many different platforms and devices.

Not to take away the skill of the mastering itself which of course, is a skill. Hearing frequencies and altering levels for mix downs correctly is critical to finalising your track.

listening to some of the tracks on here which some are even incomplete, sound complete and mastered well considering the absence of the old skool method.

After reading a fairly in-depth heated post on another forum, this topic arises to me which I would be interested in your thoughts.

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Old 05-11-2017, 10:05 PM   #2
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Unless you're producing a product to a specific physical media (CD, vinyl, etc) and/or releasing several tracks that all need to sit together as a whole I don't see mastering as necessary. Most of what people consider mastering these days is just more mixing and then turning the track up.

I think the big thing that comes from professional mastering and the reason it's seen as so crucial, even in electronic music, is that having a professional engineer who critically listens to huge amounts of music on incredibly precise equipment day after day results in them hearing things you don't. It shouldn't come as a surprise that they can make minor tweaks to levels and EQs and improve the track.

At the same time guys like Deadmau5 master their own stuff. They just mix it as well as humanly possible, throw a limiter on it until it's bold but not in the red and print it to digital. If you have decent equipment and a good ear it's not rocket surgery.

If you're producing vinyl you either need to do a crazy amount of research into how mastering for the medium works or you need to pay someone to do it. The limitations of physical media is something you can't just fudge around.
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Old 05-29-2017, 01:28 PM   #3
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

I think the gap is definitely closing as there's a lot of available and not wildly expensive software out there for mastering. I honestly don't ever think it can take the place of a mastering engineer with well trained and conditioned ears though. Everyone should at least attempt to do mastering of their own at some point, whether that's on a track you plan to release or not (preferably not a clients if you typically send it off) as that's how you get better at it and also give an appreciation to those people for their work. Personally I'm not the best at mastering, far from actually, but I definitely think there's a lot of great resources out there to help get you to where you want to be if you just practice practice practice.
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:21 PM   #4
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Before Knife Party released their last album (Abandon Ship), they posted a teaser of one of the tracks on Soundcloud. They shared the link on Twitter, with a text saying "an unmastered version, so be nice".

As somebody probably already figured out, the unmastered version was still louder and more solid than most mastered tunes of the same genre. Nobody would have guessed it's unmastered if KP would have not said it themselves.

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Old 05-29-2017, 04:38 PM   #5
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Agu- View Post
Before Knife Party released their last album (Abandon Ship), they posted a teaser of one of the tracks on Soundcloud. They shared the link on Twitter, with a text saying "an unmastered version, so be nice".

As somebody probably already figured out, the unmastered version was still louder and more solid than most mastered tunes of the same genre. Nobody would have guessed it's unmastered if KP would have not said it themselves.
It really does just show the amount love and care that needs to go into it before mastering and what can come out of it.

I'd love to see what dirty things Rob does to his mixes to get them to where they are while being as clean and as loud as they are even as much as I do prefer more dynamic music.
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:38 PM   #6
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

If you're making music that is only ever going to be played on one system in one place: fuck mastering.

If you want other people to play your music in all kinds of places: get an engineer.

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Old 06-04-2017, 03:25 PM   #7
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Agu- View Post
Before Knife Party released their last album (Abandon Ship), they posted a teaser of one of the tracks on Soundcloud. They shared the link on Twitter, with a text saying "an unmastered version, so be nice".

As somebody probably already figured out, the unmastered version was still louder and more solid than most mastered tunes of the same genre. Nobody would have guessed it's unmastered if KP would have not said it themselves.
Interesting.
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

We can debate until hell freezes over if we should self-master....but in the end, it comes down to the fact we pay somebody else to master our work because we believe they know more than us about the process and will do a better job in the end, than we would ourselves.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to master your own work..or wanting to learn how, but you really need to be brutally honest with yourself and know where to draw the line..your work deserves nothing less.

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Old 06-04-2017, 05:12 PM   #9
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

I think you should use a mastering engineer at the start if you are releasing music but also train yourself to learn the craft. A lot of musicians nowadays are mastering themselves and with the information available online you can learn a great deal and become very competent with it in time and with practice.
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:49 PM   #10
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayo_2004 View Post
A lot of musicians nowadays are mastering themselves and with the information available online you can learn a great deal and become very competent with it in time and with practice.
This reminds of another mastering-related incident. Doctor P once said on Reddit that he stopped using mastering engineers because they always made his mixdowns sound, by his words, "shit".

At the first I though like "that sounds laughable", but when you think about it for a moment, unlike for rock music etc, there are barely any mastering engineers who would have spent more time fiddling with that type of electronic music than the big names who are on the top of their league atm.

It's not like anyone who makes modern-sounding EDM etc. would say: "This guy has been mastering this type of music for this type of systems for 30 years, so I'm gonna trust his decision making", as it would be for some other styles of music.

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Old 06-06-2017, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Agu- View Post
This reminds of another mastering-related incident. Doctor P once said on Reddit that he stopped using mastering engineers because they always made his mixdowns sound, by his words, "shit".

At the first I though like "that sounds laughable", but when you think about it for a moment, unlike for rock music etc, there are barely any mastering engineers who would have spent more time fiddling with that type of electronic music than the big names who are on the top of their league atm.

It's not like anyone who makes modern-sounding EDM etc. would say: "This guy has been mastering this type of music for this type of systems for 30 years, so I'm gonna trust his decision making", as it would be for some other styles of music.
What a load of rubbish! If there are no mastering engineers competent enough to master electronic music, why are there so many records containing electronic music? thanks for the lulz

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Old 06-06-2017, 12:25 PM   #12
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

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What a load of rubbish! If there are no mastering engineers competent enough to master electronic music, why are there so many records containing electronic music? thanks for the lulz
I said "barely" = a thin slice of all mastering engineers.

And competent enough to master electronic music in general? Sure, why not.

Oriented to compete with some top artists who make music that didn't even exist in it's current form like 8 years ago? Who have more experience with it on the whole and especially with how it translates to club/festival systems than anyone else?

I'm not exactly sure about that. Most people who imo have the best production quality and the biggest sound in the whole modern, aggressive electronic music scene, do indeed master by themselves.

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Old 06-06-2017, 03:09 PM   #13
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Re: Mastering, in general 2017

Man...word engineer sound so smart and rich.

Now, on these kind of sites ppl don't always make music for DJ's, so the real need for mastering Engineer is questionable.
When you guys talk about profesional mastering services, many of you really don't need it. On the other hand, ppl like me would need that favor because I would like my songs to be played by a dj, on a beach or in a club. Even a kid riding in a car listening to my songs would probably need profesional sound services because he would like to listen to it maximum volume. And without prof mastering, these songs sounds shit on max level.

Not every music needs profesional mastering. Guy making violins, piano making chillout music has no need for profesional mastering.

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